China will promote an alternative to the Trans-Pacific Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP) during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) meeting, held this week in Peru; taking advantage of Donald Trump’s, the new US President, opposition to the pact .
Beijing will use President Xi Jinping's presence in Lima to support this initiative, as a clear gesture of how Beijing intends to increase its external influence in light of the political changes the American nation has experienced.
"Protectionism is raising its head and the Pacific region faces insufficient growth. China believes that we should establish a new plan to meet industry expectations and maintain momentum in order to create a free trade area", said Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Li Baodong, in a meeting with reporters in Beijing.
Excluded from the 12 nation TPP alliance, China had tried to present the Latin American bloc with its own option, the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement, with limited success in recent years under pressure from Washington, but Trump's electoral victory has been an absolute reversal of United State's priorities.
Barak Obama's administration announced last Friday that it will no longer try to get Congress to ratify the TPP before the end of his term. It will leave its future in the hands of Trump and Republican lawmakers, which the president-elect has defined as a "disaster" and a "violation" of their country.
Baodong confirmed that support for the FTAAP will be one of the cornerstones of Xi Jinping's trip, who will also visit Ecuador and Chile.
In the last decade trade between China and Latin America registered an unstoppable growth, as Beijing is already these nations' second trade partner, and their third largest source of investment, according to Xinhua.
Launched in 2014, Beijing expects the approval in Peru of the new regional pact's strategic study, in order to implement it. This would lead to the beginning of the treaty's "negotiations", as recognized by Raul Salazar, a Peruvian spokesman, in declarations to Xinhua.